Car Wreck 101: What is the Best Way to Pay for My Medical Bills?

medical bills and twenty dollar billsOut of nowhere, you are now coming home from the hospital and it dawns on you… How am I going to pay for the large bill that is about to be dropped on me?   It wasn’t your fault that you had to go to the doctor, and get X-Rays, CT Scans, and now you are hurting so much you just want to forget about the financial side of things.  But you know that you can’t. 

So what do you do?  The hospital said that “Since it was an accident, we don’t take health insurance.  We take third party insurance.”    What in the world is that?  Or they say, we need your own automobile insurance information.  What?  It was not my fault.    Your head is spinning more. 

Below are the simple answers you need to know.  

  1. Health Insurance is KING.      Yes, you DO want to use your own health insurance.   The hospital may say that they don’t take health insurance, but that is simply not true.  Why do they say this?  They have contracts with your own health insurance plan in which they take steep discount rates.  They would rather get more money than less, so they would rather get 100% of the bill paid.  The only way they can get more than the contract rate is to NEVER SUBMIT your claim to your health insurance plan.  Once they submit it, they are locked in to the contract discount rate.  They MUST write off the remainder of the bill.    So when they tell you that you cannot use your valid health insurance plan, and need your car insurance information, you can insist that they use your health insurance.  
     
  2. Medical Payments Coverage:   What the health provider is trying to get to is your own car’s “Medical Payments” coverage, or “MedPay” for short.  This is a coverage that you choose whenever you take out your car insurance either through your agent or online.   This coverage is sold in varying amounts of either $1,000, $2000, $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000 increments.    You are the one that decides how much to take out.  You cannot get it after a wreck to cover that past wreck… you must have it in advance of any collision.   This money will reimburse you for your medical charges, co-pays, prescriptions, and in some policies… your lost wages.   It will usually cover the cost of mileage and transportation to and from doctor’s visits.  It is relatively cheap and is very helpful when you have been hurt in a wreck.   Many chiropractors only accept med pay coverage, mainly due to healthcare reimbursements being so low that they fiscally cannot accept health insurance.

    You should know that many claims adjusters are lazy when it comes to med pay.  Sometimes before an injured person calls me after their wreck, but before I meet with them, the insurance adjuster gets a copy of the ER bill, and simply writes one check directly to the hospital and uses up all of, or “exhausts”, your medical payment limits, leaving none for you.   As soon as a person comes into my office to have me represent them, I write a letter to their own med pay carrier immediately, advising them to make no more payments until I have given them permission and requested same from them.  This way, you are protected from all of your coverage being given directly to the hospital in amounts more than they would accept from your own health insurance.  Instead this money is used to help you make it through these tough times by coming directly back to YOU. 
     
  3. Provider Liens:     In a few cases, the medical provider will accept your case on a LIEN, or promise to pay later.   This is totally up to the discretion of the medical provider.  If they choose not to do this, it is not an option.   Most chiropractors, some orthopedists and neurologists, and medical providers who specialize in treating patients involved in car wrecks, will accept liens.  They usually do this through an attorney’s office and there is a legal contract that requires them to be paid first out of any settlement or judgment.   The problem with liens is that there is no guarantee of any future recovery.  Another problem is time.  They provider has to wait weeks, months, and sometimes years, in order to get reimbursed.
     
  4. Funding Providers:     Some funding providers, like Injury Finance, Key Health, and others will assist injured parties by advancing medical costs.  This is not the best option if you have health insurance, but it is still a very good option in many circumstances.  These finance companies pay for the medical note, then get reimbursed at the end of your case, similar to the Provider Liens, #3, above.  

There are a few other options, but this order of importance in most post-wreck situations.    Your case is unique.  What if there are two different parties at fault?  What if both of those parties are blaming each other?  What if they are blaming YOU for causing the wreck?  

If you have any questions about your case and would like a free strategy review of your particular facts, then call the attorneys at GriffithLaw.   We are trial attorneys who do more than just claim we are trail lawyers.  We actively try cases and fight to overcome all of the schemes that the insurance company lays for unsuspecting, good minded folks like you.   The problem is, by the time you have figured out you are reaching a dead end, it may be too late to fix the mistakes you made.    We are here for you.   Call us today.   The call is free, and you have nothing to lose, other than your rights if you fail to call.

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